Inductive Learning: Affective Story Variants
by Chase Young

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Self-expressive learning caters to the students’ imagination and creativity. When a teacher allows students to use their imagination and creativity, it taps into the direct source of motivation, and breeches the highest echelon of learning. Students will be challenged, and be given choices in how to encounter the challenges. Originality is expressed through assumptions, competencies, and connections. The goal for a self-expressive lesson is for students to communicate their divergent thinking (Silver, Hanson, Strong, & Swartz, 2003).

Inductive learning is a strategy used to accomplish divergent thinking through creativity, student insights, and a motivational climate. The inductive learning strategy will be used to compare and contrast story variants across texts. This strategy will be implemented in four phases (Canter & Winberry, 2001).

The first phase will require students to collect their own data (Canter & Winberry, 2001). In this case, the data will be two books they have read and enjoyed. Once the students have selected their books, they will return to their learning groups. Each student will talk about their books, giving a brief summary carefully discussing the characters, setting, conflict, and solutions. In addition to variants, students will talk about why they enjoyed the book.

Phase two requires students to organize their data into groups (Canter & Winberry, 2001). The books can be group in whatever ways the group feels necessary, but each group must be labeled. It is advisable to ask an important question, rephrasing as necessary, such as, “How are the stories different, and how they are the same?” However, in this case it may have no effect on their self-directed learning. It might just allow for repeated trials calling for a longer period of time for grouping (Beishuizen & Wilhelm, 2004). This phase will elicit self-directed learning, understanding, and interpersonal learning reciprocating amongst their peers. After the debate and a great deal of conversing, students should be left with labeled groups. They might be sorted by genre, similar conflicts, common elements among the setting, or any other grouping.

Once the grouping is complete, students will analyze their groups (Canter & Winberry, 2001). This will be done as a whole group with the teacher as the facilitator. Students will describe to the class which books are in a bundle, what they chose for the label, and provide evidence the books belong in the groups selected. After students describe why the books belong, ask students to describe why some selections could not fit into other groups, and why some are more flexible in their placement. Have students choose which group of books they like the most. After a decision is made, students must write their reasoning for their preference. Students should write about common story variants found in each of the books. This activity may provide insight into their reading selections. Also, it will require students to synthesize the similarities in their choices.

The last phase synthesizes the previous three into a product. Students will write a short story that would fit into their favorite category. Each of the common story elements (or grouping characteristics) should be present. This is where originality can thrive while understanding and applying story variants as a craft in writing (Silver, Hanson, Strong, & Swartz, 2003). The resulting product is a creative and imaginative story written with both precision and flexibility.

The inductive learning strategy can be implemented in all the content areas, and is very easy to employ. Students participating in the lesson are highly motivated by the disregard for boundaries, and high regard for creativity and imagination. Self-expressive learning is a highly engaging neighborhood of instructional practices that gives the power back to the students, and frees their mind to form generalizations of their own (Canter & Winberry, 2001). 

Beishuizen, J. & Wilhelm, P. (2004). Asking Questions during Self-Directed Inductive Learning: Effects on Learning Outcome and Learning Processes. Interactive Learning Environments. Vol 12 Issue 3, p251-264, 14p

Canter, L., & Winberry, K. (Directors). (2001). Program 8: The Self-Expressive Model [Motion picture]. In C. Arnold (Producer), Instructional Models and Strategies. Los Angeles: Laureate Education, Inc.

Canter, L., & Winberry, K. (Directors). (2001). Program 9: Inductive Learning Strategy [Motion picture]. In C. Arnold (Producer), Instructional Models and Strategies. Los Angeles: Laureate Education, Inc.

Silver, H. F., Hanson, J. R., Strong, R. W., & Schwartz, P. B. (2003). Teaching styles & strategies. Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ: The Thoughtful Education Press.

© 2011 Chase J. Young. All rights reserved.